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February 2004
image A doctored photo of John Kerry speaking with Jane Fonda (aka 'Hanoi Jane') at a 1971 anti-war rally has been making the rounds lately and getting a lot of attention. It was almost immediately debunked as a phony. As this Newsday article describes, the original photo was taken by Ken Light. image The doctored version of it began popping up in conservative chat rooms a few weeks ago. As the political campaign heats up, I expect that many more photoshopped pictures of political candidates will surface. What I found surprising was not the picture itself, but the speed at which it was debunked.
Categories: Photos/Videos, Politics
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 17, 2004
Comments (1)
image It looks like Amazon.com is branching out into a lucrative new market: brains for zombies. They're offering celebrity brains and tasty brains in addition to the more generic brains. In reality, the site is a spin-off of goats.com, the 'tasty yet morally ambiguous' webcomic. (Thanks to Charles Martin for the link).
Categories: Paranormal, Websites
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 15, 2004
Comments (2)
I received a mysterious message informing me that "something tragic will go to happen... after the midnight of day 31 of March of 2004." Naturally I couldn't resist checking out the url that accompanied this message, and it took me to this website. It's a geocities page, so that automatically makes it credible. A brief investigation of the site then turned up this page: the past life analyser. It informed me that in my past life I was a writer, dramatist and organizer of rituals living in Egypt around the year 1150. Sounds about right. So I wonder what the terrible thing will be that's going to happen after March 31? Maybe their English translator is scheduled to quit on that day.
Categories: Future/Time
Posted by Alex on Sun Feb 15, 2004
Comments (4)
A study reported on in the New Scientist has found that people lie more when they're talking on the telephone than they do when writing emails. The reason is that people are conscious of the fact that emails are saved and could come back to haunt them later, whereas telephone conversations don't tend to be recorded. Of course, this doesn't mean that more of the telephone calls we receive contain lies than the emails we receive. Just the opposite. Every day I'm flooded with emails that contain blatant lies, promising me instant riches and vast improvements in my physical prowess. This is because a small number of liars (spammers) can easily contact millions of people via email, whereas reaching the same number of people via telephone would be incredibly hard (though telemarketers give it their best shot).
Categories: Email Hoaxes
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 14, 2004
Comments (0)
image Alan Williams, a professor at Southwestern Adventist University, received a Ph.D. from Glencullen University. For some reason, he didn't think it odd that Glencullen had no campus, no faculty, and required him to do nothing to earn the degree. In reality, Glencullen didn't even exist. Despite its Irish name and Irish-themed website, it's just a diploma mill based in Romania. Williams claims that he's shocked, shocked to learn this. For some reason, I don't know why, it's hard to believe that he's really an innocent victim.
Update: Brian Kelly informed me that my link to the Glencullen University website is incorrect. The site I linked to originally is actually a spoof site created by him that he uses as an example in a talk about spoof sites. So it's a spoof of a spoof, so to speak. Very confusing. So here's Brian Kelly's spoof Glencullen University site, not to be confused with the website of the real Glencullen University, which is a fake university (and the url of which I now don't know).
Categories: Con Artists
Posted by Alex on Sat Feb 14, 2004
Comments (5)
Clonaid now claims that it has created its sixth human clone, in the form of a baby boy born in Sydney last week. Once again, no evidence of any kind was provided to back up this claim. You're just supposed to take their word for it. And come on! They seem like an extremely credible bunch, don't they?
Categories: Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 12, 2004
Comments (5)
When you're in the mood for something erotic, do you fantasize about "artificially-engineered transgenic tissue sculpture." If so, then the LoveLump, created by EroTech Industries (not safe for work), is just the thing for you. The LoveLump, in concept, is like a blow-up sex doll, except that it's designed from real, living tissue. Oh, and it also doesn't look anything like a sex doll. While it bears all the appropriate sex organs, it's lacking a head or limbs. It's just a lump. To keep your LoveLump alive, you have to inject it with nutrients on a regular basis. So is the LoveLump real? No. EroTech Industries is a mock biotech company created by Vancouver-based artist Christopher Moses. It won a Memefest award last year.
Categories: Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 10, 2004
Comments (0)
image Any self-respecting British soccer fan will know the legendary George Best. They also know that Best enjoyed his drink. And so it should be no surprise that his liver, which was recently put up for auction on eBay, looks rather diseased and unhealthy. The seller claims that the liver was "recovered from the incinerator organ bin at London's Cromwell Hospital in July 2002." He also cautions that it's "not suitable for transplant or for serving with bacon and onion gravy." So the question is, is this really George Best's liver? I don't know. I guess only a dna test would answer that question. But it looks suspiciously like calf's liver to me. The item is no longer for sale, probably because it was pulled by eBay for being so obviously fake.
Categories: eBay, Sports
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 10, 2004
Comments (2)
image Quite a few people have received this picture in their email showing a man holding up a giant (dead) mountain lion. According to the accompanying text, the lion was shot by the man near Leon, Kansas while he was out deer hunting, though different versions of the email list different locations. Is the picture real? It is. But the accompanying text is incorrect. According to this article on Buckmasters.com, the lion was actually shot near Seattle, Washington. The picture first appeared in Fair Chase magazine, published by the Boone and Crockett Club, before it spread to email.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 06, 2004
Comments (1)
The hoax that everyone was linking to last week was an article on overclockers.com written by a guy who claimed that he had received a brand new dual-processor Apple G5 for Christmas, but because he had been hoping for a PC, he gutted the computer and installed a cheap PC motherboard into it instead. For those who don't know computers, that's a little like getting a Ferrari and replacing its engine with that of a Geo Prism. The Mac community hit the roof when they heard about what this guy had done. But of course, as the guy now explains, he was just kidding. Wired has an article detailing the hoax and the reaction to it.
Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 05, 2004
Comments (0)
image The folks over at SeeMeRot.com have engineered something rather unusual: a webcam set up inside a coffin so that you can see their friend's body decompose. At least, that's what they claim. The 'webcam image' appears simply to be an animated gif that cycles between a blurry and an in-focus image to simulate how a real webcam might behave. Plus, they have rather odd sponsors for a project of this kind... sponsors offering 'live sexy girl cams'. I suppose the logic is that once you get tired of watching the dead girl (they say it's a woman in the picture), you can head over and watch some live sexy girls. The site is registered to someone at 7985 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. No suite number is given, so it's impossible to tell which business there registered it, but most of the stores in that area are in the 'adult entertainment' business. I suspect that SeeMeRot.com is a weird promotional gimmick dreamed up by someone selling porn. In other words, it's fake.
(By the way, the idea of a decomposition cam isn't unique to seemerot.com. Joey Skaggs included this concept in his FinalCurtain.com cemetery hoax. Skaggs's fantastical cemetery theme park was going to include a grave constructed by an artist named Joseph Sullivan that would show Sullivan's decomposing body on an above-ground monitor.)
Categories: Death, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 04, 2004
Comments (28)
imageNatasha Demkina, a young girl living in Saransk, Russia, began to receive a lot of media attention around the middle of last month. It started with an article in Pravda, which hailed her as the 'Girl with X-ray vision'. You see, Natasha possesses the unusual ability to peer through human flesh and spot diseases and injuries that are lurking unseen within people's bodies. Or, at least, this is what Pravda claimed. It didn't take long for more newspapers to catch onto the story. The British Sun has been the most relentless about pursuing it. They've actually flown Natasha to London and are now parading her around like some kind of weird curiosity. Does Natasha really have x-ray eyes? Well, I doubt it. But I'm sure The Sun is going to milk this for all it's worth.
Categories: Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 03, 2004
Comments (710)
Buying imaginary girlfriends (and, less frequently, boyfriends) is the latest fad on eBay. What happens is that if you're the winning bidder, the person you bid for will pretend to be going out with you for a set period of time, such as a month. This imaginary relationship will be limited to emails and letters... you won't ever meet your eBay lover in person. But by showing off the communications from your new girlfriend, you might be able to convince your friends that you aren't quite the antisocial loser they thought you were. That is, until they find out that you paid for an imaginary friend, at which point they'll think you're an even bigger loser than they thought before.
Categories: eBay, Sex/Romance
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 03, 2004
Comments (3)
Here's a news story from a couple of weeks ago that I missed. This Finnish company promised that if you sent their service a text message prayer, you would receive a response from Jesus Christ himself. And Jesus would only charge the very reasonable price of $1.52 per prayer.
Categories: Religion
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 03, 2004
Comments (2)
Digital Velocity wants to rewind your DVDs for you. Just enter your credit card information on their website (Just $1 per DVD), then insert the DVD into the CD tray of your computer, and fifty-nine seconds later your DVD will be rewound. (Thanks to Tracey for the link).
Categories: Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Feb 03, 2004
Comments (4)
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